This tool is applicable for pastures in rotation with crop for Southern Australia particularly Mediterranean type climates. The Pasture Rotation tool allows you to compare pasture: crop rotation systems by selecting the years of consecutive crops and pasture and if a self-regenerating legume pasture is required. Self-regeneration is a pasture system that allows plants to set seed so the pasture can germinate by itself without the requirement of re-seeding.
The tool initially compares the pasture component in each system in terms of its value in controlling weeds, nitrogen input, contributing to the feed base and overall cost attributes to maintain the pasture system. You can then select each pasture system for more detail. In the description of each pasture system there is a link to the species of pasture that suits each rotation. The species information describes key varieties and these varieties may vary in hard seed levels. Hard seed is important for maintaining a seedbank in cropping rotations. For some rotations, specific varieties will be required to maintain self-regeneration. The species suited for each rotation will also depend on the soil type and soil pH which needs to considered independently of this tool. It is the based on the best information available but some of the combinations have had limited testing.
The comparison between pasture systems is via a star rating system with one star referring to the lowest and five stars the highest rating. It refers to the steady state rotation and excludes the establishment phase. More information is available by using your mouse to hover over the stars. For example, in terms of weed control if the rotation has one star it means the rotation has the least or most limited weed control options relative to the other rotations while five stars refers to a rotation which has the most weed control options available. Nitrogen input refers how much on average the pasture phase adds to the soil nitrogen assuming the plants are well nodulated and it depends on the legume density and composition and the number of pasture years relative to crop. The feed base refers how productive the pasture phase is for an average season and it depends on pasture density. The overall cost refers to operating and management costs of maintaining the rotation.